Sterling Hayden and Sam Jaffe star in the film noir from John Huston

John Huston’s ‘The Asphalt Jungle’ on Criterion Channel

The Asphalt Jungle (1950) is one of John Huston’s rare forays into the genre that would later be called film noir. His first, The Maltese Falcon (1941), helped set the template of the private eye noir. Ten years later, working from an adaptation of the caper novel by W.R. Burnett scripted in collaboration with the […]

Paul Muni is ‘Scarface’ in the original gangster masterpiece on Criterion Channel

The original Scarface (1932), loosely but boldly based on the notorious life and legend of Al Capone, didn’t invent the modern American gangster film. It blew it up. Films like The Public Enemy and Little Caesar had whetted the American moviegoing appetite for crime movies that reveled in vicarious thrills before delivering a sentence of […]

Rod Steiger and Marlon Brandon in the Oscar-winning film by Elia Kazan

Marlon Brando in ‘On the Waterfront’ on Amazon Prime

On the Waterfront (1954) –”I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” Marlon Brando won his first Academy Award as Terry Malloy, the former prize fighter turned longshoreman on the mob-dominated docks of New York. Directed by Elia Kazan and starring Karl Malden, Rod Steiger, […]

Marlon Brando stars in the Oscar-winning film by Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Godfather’ trilogy on Peacock

“It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.” Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Mario Puzo’s bestseller remains the great American epic of the immigrant dream turned family business. Al Pacino stars as Michael Corleone, the clean-cut white sheep and patriotic soldier boy son of New York Godfather Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando in an Oscar–winning performance), and this […]

John Huston directs ‘Moby Dick’ on Amazon Prime Video

“Call me Ishmael.” John Huston’s 1956 film of Moby Dick (1956), Herman Melville’s whaling drama turned epic odyssey and a classic of American literature and a staple of high school and college literature courses, remains the most famous screen version of the novel. Gregory Peck plays the obsessed Captain Ahab, who lost his leg to […]

‘Drums Along the Mohawk’ – John Ford’s Colonial America on Criterion Channel

John Ford made his Technicolor debut with Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), a stunning pre-western about young settlers in the rich forest lands of the Mohawk Valley during the Colonial era. Claudette Colbert takes top billing as the cultured wife and Henry Fonda is her salt-of-the-Earth husband who takes her out of the city and […]

Last chance: The glory of Astaire and Rogers in ‘Swing Time’ on HBO Max

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were the most elegant of Hollywood’s dance teams in the golden age of American musicals and Swing Time (1936) is the peak of their ten-film output. The plot is as absurd as anything from the era: Astaire is a dancer and gambler who is set to marry his hometown sweetheart […]

Alfred Hitchcock’s original ‘Psycho’ on Peacock

Psycho (1960) shocked America in 1960. Suburban theatergoers headed to the theaters to see the latest offering from the director of the glamorous and sexy Rear Window and the Technicolor confection North by Northwest. Who expected the droll host of TV’s showcase for suspense, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, to get so down and dirty and tawdry. […]

John Wayne and Montgomery Clift in the 1948 western classic by Howard Hawks

‘Red River’ – the great cattle drive epic on Amazon Prime

Howard Hawks reworks Mutiny on the Bounty as a frontier epic in Red River (1948), the sweeping tale of a journey that can’t be made and the story of a son forced to battle the father he loves and adores. Montgomery Clift made his film debut opposite grand old icon John Wayne, playing Matthew Garth, […]